Bernard Mannes Baruch, 1870 - 1965

portrait of Bernard Baruch
Photo by Underwood & Underwood, Wilmington (21 August 1931)

Born: 19 August 1870, Camden, South Carolina
Died: 20 June 1965, New York City

Bernard Mannes Baruch was born at Camden, South Carolina on this day in 1870, the son of a German immigrant who had been a surgeon on Robert E. Lee's staff in the War Between the States. The family moved to New York City about ten years later. After attending public school he graduated from City College of New York in 1889. He worked his way up from office boy ($3 per week) to runner to broker and then partner at a Wall Street firm, A. A. Housman. He was a millionaire with his own seat on the exchange at age thirty. In 1903 he started Baruch Brothers and in 1907 he and brother Hartwig bought H. Hentz and Company, an international commodity trading firm with offices at New York and three European capitals. In 1905 he bought Hobcaw Barony, a 17,000 acre plantation in South Carolina where he spent summers. He was an advisor to Woodrow Wilson but when asked to join the War Industries Board he left Wall Street behind to avoid conflicts, although he was publicly accused of making a fortune from the war, most bitterly by Henry Ford. He would go on to advise presidents Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Roosevelt, and Truman at some level, he was one of Roosevelt's "Brain Trust" and involved in creating the National Recovery Administration. He was known as the "Park Bench Statesman" for sitting in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, where political figures including congressmen and department heads came to get his opinions. When at home, he did the same in Central Park. The man who said he'd never be an old man ("Old is fifteen years older than I am.") died just short of his ninety-fifth birthday.

Biography from Wikipedia and Legacy of Leadership

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